14 July 2014

Carbon Canyon Historical Artifact #46: Olinda Oil Field postcard

A postcard with a colored photograph of "Oil Fields near Fullerton, Calif.," published by M. Kashower Company of Los Angeles and showing the Santa Fe lease at Olinda.  The date is circa 1910.   Click on the image to see it in an enlarged view in a separate window.
In 1897, the discovery of oil by Edward Doheny on land leased on the Olinda Ranch by the Atchison, Topeka and Santa Fe Railroad ushered in the Olinda field, the first oil-producing area of Orange County and, at the time, one of the major fields in California.

Yet, for years, this area was known instead as the "Fullerton Oil Field," almost certainly because of the fact that the nearest town to the site was Fullerton.  This unused postcard, probably dating to around 1910, reflects that through its title of "2.  Oil Fields Near Fullerton, Calif." as well as the short description on the reverse, which slightly amends the title to "2.  VIEW OF A SECTION OF THE FULLERTON OIL DISTRICT,' and adds the observation that "the wells of which have returned untold millions to their owners."

Why these riches had to be "untold" is an interesting semantic question, but the fact is that the earlier producers did quite well, including Doheny, the Santa Fe railroad, and other players like Graham and Loftus, the Fullerton Oil Company and the Bailey family, whose Olinda Ranch was considered a failure as a subdivision project until black gold was located a decade after they bought the land.

In any case, the card shows the hillside location north of Carbon Canyon Road and east of Valencia Avenue where the Santa Fe-held area, much of which was known for years as the C.C.M.O. (Chanslor-Canfield Midway Organization) lease, was located.  Wooden derricks, sheds, storage tanks, what may be homes as well as outbuildings, and power lines are in view.

Once the wells were basically played-out and operations shuttered, the site, which underwent an extensive cleaning operation, became the Olinda Ranch subdivision.  The original Olinda oil well, brought in by Doheny nearly 120 years ago, is still operating and the Olinda Oil Museum exists to tell the story of the field.


Anonymous said...

Interesting! I love your website and know a lot of others around here do, too -- just because there aren't a lot of comments, doesn't mean there aren't folks like me who check in regularly for interesting reads! THANK YOU so much for what you do here -- it makes living in Carbon Canyon that much more fun!

prs said...

Hi Anonymous,thanks for the nice comment and I always appreciate when people let me know what they think (well, almost always.) We live in a distinctive place and it's been fun learning about it and sharing what I've found out.

brockevan said...

I too share the feelings and appreciation as noted by "Anonymous". Thanks for effort you have put in to this blog. I really do appreciated it.

prs said...

Hi Brockevan, thanks for your comment and support for the blog and hope that you'll be a regular visitor.